Back to school, I mean, work


Alas! After twelve glorious weeks, my maternity leave has come to an end. Once I got all my worries and complaints out and off the proverbial chest, I felt much better about returning to work. So I brushed the dust off, smoothed my shirt down, and with a deep breath, took my first assertive steps out the door: Baby care instructions for grandma, check! HR paperwork, check! Clean and press clothes, check and check! As I prepared for my first day back, marking boxes off the good ol' "To Do" list, I started to feel more and more ready. Heck, I was almost even excited. Kind of like when I was a kid and summer sizzled to an end; although it was sad to see those lazy, hazy days go, I was sort of, well, over it. At a certain point, you become numb to the monotony, you know? And this is exactly how I was (not) feeling about staying at home with my son. Remember, I'm trying to pump myself up and that sometime requires delusional coercion. 

But in all seriousness, I got some great advice and encouragement from family and friends, which helped me to realize everything will be fine. I felt mentally and emotionally prepared. And I was totally fine... until this morning. Everything was set to go and as I bent over his crib to kiss his sweet little forehead goodbye, I almost lost it. That's when I felt the vice grip around my throat tighten. Holy crap. I. am going to. cry! For the love of all things, keep it together, woman! Back away from the baby. I slowly retreated, fighting back the tears. It was touch-and-go there for a minute, but I stayed cool - until I went psychotic. I went through the list with grandma for the dozenth time, her nodding all the while, as if to say "Yes, yes. I know. You've already gone over this. I've got it. We'll be fine." Then, I proceeded to say good by to anything and everything in the house... twice. I think even I turned to wave goodbye to the house. It was a sorry sight.

Once I was finally on the road to the office, though, my brain switched into cruise control. I took the regular route, walked the familiar sidewalks, and rode the elevator up; just like I had hundreds of times before. And you know what? After the initial shock wore off, I fell right back into things, like time had never passed. There were even a few moments throughout the day that I forgot about the baby boy at home. Almost as if the last thirteen months never happened. It was weird. But it was oddly habitual and, in that way, comforting. It wasn't so bad after all. And since I'm only working part-time for now, the day FLEW. Before I knew it, I was giddily skipping to my car and heading back home.

When I got home, Auggie was napping,  which I was kind of relieved to find because when he's sleeping, my absence sort of doesn't count. (At least, that's what I've told myself to feel better about the six hours I was gone). Anyway, he woke up soon after I walked through the door and we had our time while I nursed him. Here's where the whole quality vs quantity idea kicks in because now I realize how valuable that time is. And not that it wasn't special before, it's just that we had SO much of it, I thought it was alright to squander it a bit. I recently came across this article though and it was a great reminder of being present in our children's lives. A reminder to unplug.  And not just from the hyper-connected, digital web we're so easily ensnared in but from all the distractions we let get in the way of real life. So those days of me sitting at the computer while nursing? They are gone. Or, at least, severely limited. I'm not going to promise there still won't be some multitasking going on  - it's inherently part of the mom thing.

So, the best part of today? Having that full-bellied, happy baby on my lap, chatting my ear off with the most zealous "goos", telling me all about his day with grandma. Instant flash-forward to an enthusiastic little boy on his first day back from school. All that was missing was a backpack strewn at the door and an empty lunchbox on the counter. Aaaaand fade out into a nostalgic Harry Chapin soundtrack: And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon... Oh boy, here come the water works again.

My boy, already in the arms of another woman.


JosiJoy said...

Hey Lew,
Good, no great to hear!!! I was kind of hoping you'd actually LIKE going back to work because I really want to go back to work after baby is here too and it's good to hear you could and did and that everything was fine. Let me/us know about any other developments!

Anonymous said...

Yup Jos, I was wrong. Again. Surprise, surprise. Work went really fast and when I got home, I was so excited to see Auggie that our time was more FULL, you know what I mean? I'm sure you'll find it to be the same way once you're little one arrives. ;)

JosiJoy said...

On verra, we will see. For now, the baby likes to punch me and I think he/she is doing flips in there!!!


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